New numbers from Italy's Assocomaplast trade association provide more evidence that 2009 was a lousy year for plastics machinery, worldwide.
Sales of Italian-made plastics and rubber machinery and molds plunged by more than 20 percent from 2008 levels in every category: production, exports, imports an domestic. Overall production dropped by 23.8 percent, to 3.2 billion euros ($4.4 billion).
The sharp decrease of production reflects both the downturn of export and the deep crisis of the domestic market, Assocomaplast said in a Feb. 23 news release announcing the statistics.
The Milan-based trade association said members reported a remarkable slackening for the entire Italian industry.
Exports fell 26.5 percent, to 1.8 billion euros ($2.5 billion). Germany remains by far the largest export market for Italian-made plastics and rubber machinery, accounting for 13.5 percent of total exports. Germany is followed by France, the U.S. and China. Russia showed the biggest drop, as the value of Italian exports to the country plunged 54 percent.
The domestic Italian market accounted for about 60 percent of total production. Domestic sales also weakened in 2009, to 1.85 billion euros, ($2.51 billion) down 20.8 percent from 2008.
Imports also declined, by 23.7 percent, to 450 million euros ($627 million).
Despite the weak 2009 numbers, Assocomaplast reports a moderate optimism among its member companies for 2010. Orders started to improve in November and December, the industry group said.
About 50 companies will exhibit in an Italian pavilion during Chinaplas 2010, set for April in Shanghai.
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